I have, as predicted, succumbed to the will of the great white ear bud menace once again. I write to you on a plane from Cairns to Brisbane, my phone playing tunes (and an audiobook) to keep me buoyant through the trip.
I won’t lie, I’m a little worse for wear. It’ll be at least three weeks before I see my wife again, and I’m in need of comfort listening.
I don’t understand people who pump their ears with Top 40 junk food. I quickly take on the persona of a grumpy pensioner when I hear the dull thud-thud and orgasmic moans of the latest reality TV flash in the pan leaking out of someone’s ear phones near me on public transport. They all sound the same to me…
My taste is hopefully eclectic, but it’s always leaned to the gentler side. A folk singer with a guitar is the musical equivalent of chicken soup: homey, comforting, good. It’s the music of my father, who worships at the altar of a particular breed of 70′s virtuoso, and I, in turn, am destined to pay homage to their 21st century equivalent.
My brief playlist for a journey home:
Weather of a Killing Kind
Tallest Man on Earth
I’ll designate a whole post to Tallest Man on Earth (no, seriously, I will), but this song is like a polo fleece onesie: the kind of intimate comfort that you long for. The first riff shows off his sublime fingerpicking, and his vocals and lyrics are, in my humble opinion, very comparable to Dylan. Irritatingly, this song isn’t on any album, but was a single release with a magazine a couple of years ago.
Mumford and Sons
Covering one of those 70′s virtuoso’s I spoke about, this version comes close to producing the emotion of the Simon and Garfunkel original. Highlights include a dobro solo, Marcus Mumford’s brutal lead vocals, the production on the epic harmonies, and, of course, that final verse:
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.
Born and Raised
I know, I know, but I really like him, and his latest record is one long Neil Young ode. This ballad is the kind of loping simple tune you don’t hear that often anymore, because music producers aren’t satisfied to let anything sit. And somehow it’s simultaneously sad and uplifting.
Bat for Lashes
Somewhere between Elton John and David Bowie is this little piano ballad. I haven’t listened to any other songs from Bat For Lashes, but this one caught my attention when it landed on Triple J’s Hottest 100 this year gone. Type of thing you want to sing in the car at a God-awful volume. And the video is nice too.
Remember when Jose Gonzalez was huge thanks to an ad for Sony televisions? The intimate sound of self-recorded folk against corporate gleam was bizarre, but it worked. This tune was similar: it’s to be found on the soundtrack for Red Dead Redemption, one of my favourite video games. When it turns up in the game it’s a deeply meaningful moment, but the song has stuck with me and outgrown it’s roots. A shame it’s not better known.